Peter opened his mouth and said, “Truly I perceive that God shows no partiality, but in every nation any one who fears Him and does what is right is acceptable to Him.” Acts 10:34-35
Scratching out a beginners understanding of the Bible still has me asking basic questions and wondering at my own interpretations of the Scriptures. With the above writings I have wondered about a few things. First I thought I was supposed to love God and not live cowering about His potential retribution. I believe that fear might be translated into a desire for knowledge while deeply respecting His power. If I don’t have that right it won’t be the first time, and all I can say is – “Oh well”.
However the part which interests me more is that last part which says “is acceptable to Him”. I’m pretty sure that if I take a club and beat someone to death that would be unacceptable to Him. But what part in this does thinking nasty thoughts play? What about when people are obviously offended by my very existence?
You might think how could I know anyone would be offended by my existence? If a person is understated and quiet and comes and goes to the church, you might never know what people think of you, and you might escape this. In fact I believe that most people live this reality. However, if you do things that find you front and center you will have people commenting and often the opinions will find their way back to you.
I grant you I have a “Bull in the China Shop” way about me, and as a flaming extravert, I can find myself alienating people through (I believe) my idiosyncrasies. If people knew my heart, I keep telling myself, they would know better.
From the beginning I have been a visible part of the church with writing, singing, working sound, and playing in the praise team. From the beginning as well, I have had no end of opinions expressed mostly good, but some which seems to have an odd energy behind them. If you put yourself out there and you are a little off center by others standards, I suppose you should be ready for this, but I find myself puzzled by what I am supposed to accept as human nature.
Sometimes I can revert to nasty thoughts. I don’t want anyone to die, but sometimes I wish they would stub their toe in the dark (really hard). Does that count as what is not right and unacceptable to Him, and as a result condemn me to the everlasting fiery pits of Hell?
I can’t believe that God would condemn me for coming up short in others eyes, especially when He has His choice of so many other reasons.
In South Africa Apartheid was largely defeated by communication which evolved to understanding. When people really get to know one another and desire cooperation, there is very little which cannot be overcome.
Judgement I truly believe is Gods’ role. People who know the Bible better than I, and that would be about everyone, would no doubt be able to offer explanations which would be backed up by Biblical passages. I’m sure somewhere in the Bible there would be a passage which might have me burned at the stake, but for Heaven’s sake, and for mine, lets get to know one another before you go looking for kindling.